"It's all about relationships."
The word had gotten around that our family would be worshipping with our former congregation while we were in Rochester on vacation. As a result I had been asked to share a few things in worship about our ministry in New Mexico. So I began with the words of Romans 5:8, where Paul writes:
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
God's love is definitively revealed for His people in that Christ died to redeem sinners. Christ died on a cross 2000 years ago to redeem sinners living then, to redeem sinners long-dead, such as Abraham and Moses, and to redeem sinners not yet born, such as the sinners gathered on a Sunday morning in places as diverse as Rochester, Minnesota and Dulce, New Mexico.
All sinners coming to God with faith in the work of Christ are in a relationship with God as an act of His grace and mercy, and they are also in a relationship with all others who call themselves "Christian." And as I thought a bit in preparation to speak to our former congregation I thought that at the heart of our ministry in Dulce is the idea of relationship. Our relationship with God, and our relationship with each other.
God has been at work in this community, through this congregation, for a long time. This congregation has had a presence for 100 years. Since coming to Dulce last August we have seen the church's historical presence as being one way in which someone seeks the church out today. "I went there as a child" or "That was my grandparents church." A past relationship becomes the starting point for a new relationship.
Another thing I shared with our old congregation was that it has been my privilege to gradually get to know people in the congregation and in the community. Relationships have started through the act of unloading a moving truck, while talking with someone passing behind the parsonage, and while standing in line at the post office. One thing I seek in these relationships is to help people grow into a deeper relationship with God. And I do so knowing that as I talk and pray with people God is also at work in me.
And the last thing I shared was how God has been at work in the community, strengthening the relationships of different churches with each other. One of the exciting things about a new ministry that will be starting this fall is that the Dulce churches have worked together on it. While it will use our buildings it is not so much a ministry of our church as it is a ministry of God that uses many churches together to do His work among the children of our community.
It's all about relationships. Individual people drawn into a relationship with God, gathered as God's people to serve Him in the community, to His eternal glory.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.